Lately it would seem that Xiaomi is launching just too many smartphones. They’re getting a little difficult to tell apart, what with a spec’s difference here or there. Fact is, one wishes the company would make existing phones more readily available rather than launch quite so many new variants, some of which are now beginning to be decidedly confusing to choose from. They’re also beginning to be built with compromises that ignore the fact of rising competition.
The good thing is that all of these phones have a few significant things in common — so significant that they’ve helped Xiaomi unseat Samsung several times as the number one market leader in India. They’re built to last. They have a thought-out design, even though it may be getting very stale. They’re made keeping ergonomics in mind. They’re good performers. They’re topped up with features popular in India. And they’re even made in India. On top of that, they’re unstintingly reasonably priced. But are the phones in the new series still value for money?
The Chinese tech giant has launched a new series, the Redmi 6 family, all members of which may not even be here yet. There’s a Redmi 6, Redmi 6A and a Redmi 6 Pro. One presumes a Redmi Note 6 and even Note 6 Pro may come along sometime in the near future, adding to the mix. If you look closely, all three of these phones have their own fine-tuning, mapping them to a specific segment. The Redmi 6, which itself has two variants and what is being touted as a dual camera set-up despite the phones being entry level. The 3 GB + 32 GB model is priced at ₹7,999 and 3 GB + 64 GB variant costs ₹9,499, as introductory prices for two months.
The Redmi 6A costs just ₹5,999 and is the successor to Redmi 5A, which was ranked as the number one selling smartphone in the second quarter of 2018, with more than three million units shipped, as per the analyst firm IDC. Redmi 5A was also the bestselling Android phone globally in March 2018 according to Counterpoint Research. It’s successor, the Redmi 6A and the Redmi 6 are meant for entry-level users on a budget but who don’t want to settle for the really bare-bones offerings that flood this segment. Again, for a budget phone, it even comes with the face unlock feature. It also has dual VoLTE capabilities.
The Redmi 6 Pro is the most advanced of the new series so far and the one that we had a look at. Its 3 GB + 32 GB variant is priced at ₹10,999 and 4 GB + 64 GB variant is priced at ₹12,999. The phone, as ever, feels totally solid, made as it is from brushed metal. We saw the black, but there’s a blue and a red variant in addition to a more standard gold. The 6 Pro has a big 4,000 mAh battery inside (that could take you over two days to deplete until you try hard to do it faster) and yet is compact and easy to hold. A provided case counters the slipperiness that comes from the smooth metal. It’s a 5.84-inch device with curved glass and a notch, which people seem to have taken to. It looks quite modern but if you’re anti-notch, you can blacken it out from the settings. Unlike the other two phones in this series, the 6 Pro runs Snapdragon 625. The others are using a Helio processor. The 6 Pro smooth and fast — and fastest when unlocking with its fingerprint sensor. The Snapdragon 625, however, has been used in so many of Xiaomi’s phones that it doesn’t present anything new or unique.
The screen is a little low in contrast and sharpness, but pleasant and workable. You have a dual SIM slot, both supporting 4G VoLTE, and a micro-SD card slot. The 12 MP + 5 MP primary camera set-up takes decent enough pictures as does the 5 MP front camera. Don’t expect miracles, however. If you’re on a tight budget, you can’t go wrong with one of these trusty phones. At the same time, the competition is heating up. Huawei has also been launching one phone after the other, clearly after the same segment as Xiaomi. Asus has also been right-pricing some of its offerings and were it to get its marketing right, it would also be a challenger. The Redmi 6 Pro is a nice enough device but it hasn’t come into a market identical to when the company launched their Redmi 3 series. Times are changing and Xiaomi should start building in some surprises into the Redmi series.
Price: Redmi 6 Pro- ₹10,999 (3 GB), ₹12,999 (4 GB)
Pros: Solid build, big battery, good performance
Cons: Stale design, non-descript, older processor
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